NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Look Back: 2006
Tony Stewart coasts to his third victory of 2006 at Kansas Speedway on October 1, literally. Stewart coasted across the finish line after running out of gas on the final lap.
Several racing incidents would mar the race. On lap 15, Ryan Newman would spin in front of point leader Jeff Burton. Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick would take to the infield grass to avoid the spin and Jimmie Johnson took the lead from pole-sitter Kasey Kahne. Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Matt Keneseth would struggle throughout the day, while rookie Denny Hamlin would be penalized on lap 146 for speeding down pit road.
But the major turning point would come at the end of the race when Kahne would spin entering pit road on lap 262 forcing Johnson to bypass the pits until the next lap. Stewart capitalized on the miscalculations to take the lead.
Stewart, who wasn’t part of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, would take the lead on lap 263 when Johnson received a late race pit road penalty for speeding. The move allowed Stewart, who shifted into neutral, to save his remaining fuel and coast to a 13 second win over then second place Casey Mears.
"I got to see the checkered flag for a really long time,” said Stewart in a post race interview. “For once, the car came to a stop at the bottom of the track apron.”
Burton held onto the points lead by 69 over Hamlin but Mark Martin, the 2005 Cup winner at Kansas Speedway, would move from sixth to third in the point standings. Jimmie Johnson, who would win at Kansas Speedway in 2008, would finish the day eighth in the point standings, 165 points behind Burton. Johnson would move up in the point standings over the next seven races and go on to win the first of his five championships in 2006.
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- Part 1: A look at the final nine Sprint Cup Series races and impact on the Chase
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